Saturday, 14 July 2012
i see a spacecraft, but will wait for the ticket price to drop
Aside from the planes, another of the interesting things at Farnborough was the space craft. You'll spot that my picture isn't from the display area, but I think it gives more of an impression than the rather rain-swept item in the show.
Richard Branson had been in earlier in the week and is already building the second Spaceport, this time in Abu Dhabi, alongside the one already in New Mexico.
I guess both locations have the desert for very long runways and extended air traffic space for long ascents and descents.
I can't afford the ticket price for this thing (it's around US$200k) but in the scheme of things an astronaut level flight for that type of money strikes me as relatively affordable. No wonder Virgin Galactic already has more than 500 people signed up for flights.
I know it's only targeting a very low earth orbit at circa 62 miles (100km) rather than even at the 500 mile plus level where low earth orbit (LEO) satellites fly, but then I think of that picture of the Wright brothers around 10 feet above the ground in 1903 and it all starts to become quite thought provoking. And come to think of it, the LEO space is getting filled up with space junk which would need to be dodged.
Below is a short video of the testing in the Mojave desert, when the Mothership Eve (named after Branson's Mum) first lifted N33955 VSS Enterprise and then released it for a trial descent. That's the same vehicle that was in Farnborough.
Fascinating stuff and there's more in the rather glossy brochure and a link to the main Galactic website